Ministry vs. Business

June 16, 2008 by

How does your church toe the line between business and ministry? Some churches are corporate wannabes, other churches are rebels against a corporate mindset, but here was a school of thought I found interesting.

Google, in a completely unrelated search, took me to What Every Non-Profit Can Learn From a For-Profit (Powerpoint or HTML). Those of you eager to learn from the corporate world are probably salivating just from reading the title. Well, it’s an outline from the CEO of Kanakuk Kamps regarding the way they run their organization, and it’s got some pretty great gems. Here are a few regarding business and ministry:

  • Kanakuk’s “mix” is 51% ministry and 49% business
  • All decisions must follow this commitment
  • Ministry is fueled by business operations, not dependent on donations
  • Business is always second to a ministry application

It’s an interesting model to focus slightly more on ministry than business. It keeps both the priorities and the finances in line, although I’m not sure a church using this model wouldn’t make Jesus flip a table.

And they go on to share some gems about hiring:

  • Build a job description
  • Cast a wide net for your search
  • Use personality testing as a tool
  • Only hire committed believers who meet or exceed the skills required in your job description
  • Don’t just hire people that are handy such as friends, spouses or neighbors

In other words, we’re all Christians in this organizations, and it’s a temptation to hire all of our friends and people who are in need, but that isn’t necessarily what’s best for our organization. It’s a tough line to toe, but selecting people who will pursue excellence in their position will have exponential impact on both your church and the Church.

Post By:

Joshua Cody

Josh Cody served as our associate editor for several years before moving on to bigger things. Like Texas. These days he lives in Austin, Texas, with his wife, and you can find him online or on Twitter when he's not wrestling code.
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6 Responses to “Ministry vs. Business”

  • Antwon Davis
    June 16, 2008

    I admire this approach to ministry and business. It reminds me of a similar model that North Point Community Church uses. They screen all of their potential employees and require them to be interviewed several times. I think that shows the quality that a church places on who they are and what they do.
    When using terms like “excellence” and “impact”, I think quality is key. I find it interesting that many would argue against a post like this, but will turn around and expect quality out of a company like Apple or Starbucks. It’s rather sickening that so many settle for mediocrity in the name of Jesus Christ, but demand quality in the name of Starbucks – sounds backwards to me. I appreciate ministries that recognize that we as the church should be compelled to represent God and His Kingdom in excellence.

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  • Jason
    June 16, 2008

    My first time visiting this blog. Lots of information and resources here. Thanks for making this available!
    Romans 1:12

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  • Secret Latte
    June 17, 2008

    While applying a business model to church makes me cringe (just a little), I do see the benefit to hiring outside your circle. I’ve served in and attended many churches where a friend/sibling/spouse was not doing well in a position at all, sometimes doing detriment unknowingly or just wasn’t suited for the job, yet leadership felt they couldn’t redirect or dismiss them for fear of upset. Good point.

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  • Patrick
    June 17, 2008

    great thoughts in the post, and amen Antwon.
    Excellence is not a dirty word, and it is not even a luxury or something we shoot for only when we have time or resources left over.
    Jesus Christ did everything with excellence. He didnt satisfy himself with ministering to people in a way that was “good enough,” and we shouldnt either.
    When we do things with mediocrity it is a reflection to others of how we value them. Starbucks and Apple do things with excellence because they want us to know that they have thought about us and are prepared to meet our needs (or course, it is not for altruistic reasons – they do it so we will buy coffee and ipods). The church should be the same way, without the desire to get something in return of course. We want outsiders to know we care about them enough that we planned an excellent experience for them even before we knew they’d be there.

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  • Jenni Catron
    June 22, 2008

    I’m the Executive Director for a large church and my job description is to manage the business side of the church. I came from the corporate world before assuming this role so it took me some time to figure out the ministry/business balance. We’ve never put percentages on it like Kanakuk but all of our business decisions are made with our vision and values as a church in mind.
    Thanks for this quick glance at how another ministry responds to this challenge!

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  • Cristy
    November 1, 2008

    Interesting stuff here; I agree that it is sometimes best to look outside our immediate circles when seeking out effective ministry leaders!
    -Cristy S.
    Online Community for Christian Leaders

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